Several studies have pointed out the importance of the building design process in terms of improving the performance of the construction industry, and that it is a very difficult process to manage. It involves thousands of decisions, sometimes over a period of years, with numerous interdependencies, under a highly uncertain environment. As distinct from production, quality in the design process has to be achieved by a careful identification of customer needs and subsequent translation of those needs into specifications. The aim of this article is to present an analysis on the application of some lean construction principles to design management, considering the three different views of design (design as conversion, design as flow and design as value generation), proposed by Huovila et al. (1997). This discussion is based on empirical data collected in two case studies developed in Brazil. Each case study involved the development of a model for managing the design process for a small-sized house building company.
Building design, design management, lean construction, process management.